Palaeontologists name fossils in tribute to Deep Purple and Meshuggah drummers

Paice + Haake
(Image credit: Press)

Metal-loving palaeontologists have named recently discovered fossils in honour of two influential drummers, Deep Purple’s Ian Paice and Meshuggah’s Tomas Haake.

The newly-titled Ophiopetagno Paicei and Muldaster Haakei are two fossils of extinct brittle stars retrieved from 428-million-year-old rocks on the Swedish island of Gotland by a team led by Doctor Ben Thuy from the Natural History Museum Luxembourg, who also happens to be a metal drummer, with the band Sleepers’ Guilt.

Explaining why his team chose to honour the two drummers, Doctor Thuy says: “Analysing fossils the size of a dust grain and delving deeply into complex evolutionary patterns can be mind-wrecking. The music of Deep Purple and Meshuggah really helped us blow off steam, renew inspiration and calm our minds… it was an obvious choice to honour two of my idols.”

The team also elected to name a fossil in honour of renowned American artist Joe Petagno, the man who created Motörhead’s iconic ‘War-Pig’ mascot, and created album artwork for Hawkwind, Sweet, Autopsy, Sodom and more.

“Joe has a history of including zoological objects in his paintings and has provided artwork for some of my previous fossil discoveries,” explains Professor Mats E. Eriksson of Lund University, the co-author of the study. “Naming a fossil in his honour was long overdue.”

Eriksson has previously named fossils in honour of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, Lemmy and King Diamond. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.